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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry




Nissan Plans

On: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 3:35PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Plans test 1-1

When you first hear that Nissan is planning a convertible version of the Murano crossover, it's nearly impossible to have any reaction that doesn't include a version of "WTF?!!" Perfectly natural. According to a new Automotive News report, that's exactly what the company is going for. Nissan realizes that the Murano convertible will have a polarizing effect, but hopes that the model will draw attention to the brand and develop some buzz. It's hard to see how that plan will fail.


Prices of Pre-Owned SUVs Up 30%

On: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:42AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Prices of Pre-Owned SUVs Up 30% test 1-1

In such an unstable automotive market as the U.S. has experienced in the past year, it’s difficult to predict exactly when the best time is to buy or sell a used car, but if it’s an SUV, Minivan, or Crossover that’s involved, now may be the best time to sell—not buy.

According to Edmunds.com, prices of pre-owned SUVs and Crossovers have gone up by as much as 30% since last year.  Cadillac Escalades, for example, being sold in 2010 are getting 36% more for the average sale price than buyers paid in 2009.

In a market that values vehicles that provide great fuel economy, one may think that prices for gas guzzling SUVs would be going down instead of up. On average, wholesale prices for used vehicle have decreased slightly in July as compared to record high prices in the spring.

Edmunds.com reports that the average retail price for a pre-owned Cadillac Escalade, (calculating an average price paid for all model years) was $34,715 in July, surprisingly, up 36% from the average price paid last July. Edmunds.com reports that the average retail price paid for a used Dodge Grand Caravan in July, averaged over all model years, was $15,629, up 34%.


Ford Boosts 2011 Mustang With Supercharger Kit

On: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:00AM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Boosts 2011 Mustang With Supercharger Kit  test 1-1

The 2011 Ford Mustang has already made big headlines for bringing back the 5.0 and delivering 300 (hp) and 30 (mpg). Now, Ford Racing is offering a little something for those that prefer 500 or 600 over 300. The company's new supercharger kitsfor 5.0-liter Mustang GT models boosts output up to 624 hp (up from 412 hp of the stock 5.0-liter V8).

Ford Racing announced the new kits at the Woodward Dream Cruise this past weekend. The kits are the first power upgrades offered for the new Mustang.

The two top kits feature a 2.3-liter twin-screw supercharger, intake manifold, air-to-liquid intercooler system, drive belt, 47 lb/hr high-impedance fuel injectors and an ECU tune from Ford Racing. The 525 hp kit gets an ECU tune for 7 psi of supercharger boost and the 624 hp kit gets a 9 psi boost. The base Tuner Kit, which is aimed at tuners and "extreme enthusiasts," does not include the ECU tuning from Ford Racing, but includes all the other pieces of the puzzle. Since the base kit is designed for tinkerers, no final output numbers are given.

The 525 hp kit boosts torque up to 470 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm and the 624 hp kit offers up to 536 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm.

The extra power from Ford Racing won't come cheap. The base kit costs $6,499. Each of the other two kits comes in choice of black or chrome, which relates to the color of the intake manifold. The 525 hp kit costs $7,199 for the black version and $7,799 for the chrome, while the 624 hp kit is $7,499 in black and $8,099 in chrome. The 525-hp kit includes a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty when installed by a Ford/Lincoln dealer, while the 624 hp kit comes with no such niceties. All the kits are available as you read.


Ford Invests $60 Million in University Research Projects

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Invests $60 Million in University Research Projects test 1-1

Since the University Research Programs (URP) began in 1989, Ford has invested more than $60 million in university research projects, offering nearly 500 grants to 100 schools globally.

Some of the world’s most prestigious university professors and students are pairing up with Ford scientists in 2010 to explore a wide range of new technologies planned to benefit future Ford vehicle development.
 
This year, Ford awarded 13 University Research Program grants to 12 different universities around the world, including Wayne State University in Detroit; Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany; and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
 
According to Ford Motor Co., Ford’s new collaborative program is a relatively new approach aimed at “testing the properties of thermoplastics modified with nano materials and developing an in-vehicle safety alert system for diabetic drivers, to studying the environmental and economic impact of batteries for electric vehicles.”  In total, Ford is planning 30 study projects utilizing 26 world-wide universities.
 


 

Ford May Lose Some Investors to GM IPO

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Allan Mullaly test 2

According to the Bloomberg News, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman, Bill Ford recently commented that some of the company’s investors may liquidate their holdings in order to buy shares in General Motors Co’s IPO with the strategy in mind of distributing the risk throughout the automotive industry.

“Some money will be rebalanced into GM, but look: our company and GM ultimately are going to succeed or not based upon performance,” according to Ford's statement to reporters at an event in Detroit. “It doesn’t make any difference to me where our shares are or their shares are on any given day.”

As GM prepares for its initial public offering after bankruptcy, many analysts are predicting an offering of up to $16 billion.

The U.S. Treasury currently owns as much as 61% of GM. The share sale will allow the company to decrease the government’s ownership share while making a comeback to public market. Ford Motor Co. was the only Detroit automaker of the big three that didn’t take a government bailout or file bankruptcy by borrowing $23 billion. Alan Mulally, Ford CEO stated that the company is at a disadvantage in the marketplace due to having such a huge financial loan obligation.


U.S. Dealers Are Asking For More Inventory

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:38AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 GMC Terrain test 2

We have heard the woes of dealers across the country complaining about lack of stock and lost sales, every since automakers cut production as a result of last years’ stalemate of new car sales affecting every automaker in the U.S. market.  Stories about dealers such as Carter Myers who reports that he is losing motivated buyers over lack of products such as the Terrain crossover, Honda Pilots and Sonatos, and Chevy Suburbans, to name a few.

Automakers "have driven supplies too low,"  according to Myers, a former chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

It is a perplexing issue across the industry.  While most dealerships in the industry suffer from low sales these days, many dealers feel they could definitely sell more vehicles if automakers would supply them. There are a handful of difficult-to-get vehicles, such as the Terrain, which accounts for much of the problem. Many of the complaints are from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group dealers.

73% of the 244 dealers interviewed in an Automotive News survey last week, agreed that they had too few new vehicles in inventory. And 77% of those respondents felt that they had lost sales as a result.

Automakers report that they are doing their best to keep dealerships stocked with inventory while avoiding the past mistake of over production that resulted in too much inventory on the lots, driving prices and resell values down and high incentives up.


Finland Proposes World's First

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:29AM | By: Chris Weiss


Finland Proposes World's First  test 1-1

The Loviisa municipality in Finland is leading a project to build what it calls the world's first ecological highway. The highway, which would be built on an 81-mile stretch of road connecting the coastal town of Turku with the town of Vaalima, would feature electric charging stations as well as pumps stocked with locally-sourced biofuels in an attempt to become carbon neutral. The project is aimed at providing a model for the rest of the world. 

Loviisa is located near the beginning of the proposed green highway and has taken the lead on the project. Currently, the project is a potpourri of green brainstorming with ideas ranging from pumps offering biofuels and electricity made from local waste products to geothermal heat pumps to "smart" lighting that automatically turns on and off based on weather and traffic patterns. The town is working on a study to see if the green highway will be feasible and expects to publish a report by next spring.

Production could begin as early as the second half of next year and hopes are that the highway is done by 2016. The cost is projected at around 700 euros ($900 million), a sum that would include both public and corporate financing.

A representative from Loviisa, Aki Marjasvaara, was quoted by AFP in explaining the project's significance: "The aim is to create the model for an ecological highway that could be used even on an international level. No other such project exists. This would set an example to the world."


G-Power's BMW M5-Based Hurricane RR Is World's Fastest Production Sedan

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Chris Weiss


G-Power's BMW M5-Based Hurricane RR Is World's Fastest Production Sedan  test 1-1

All of our world speed record attention of late has been focused on two door supercars, what with the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport breaking the record and the next-generation SSC Ultimate Aero TT on the way next month. However, from the tuner stables comes a world speed record story that sports a few extra doors: the G-Power Hurricane RR. The suped-up 800-hp BMW M5 can take you and your family to the local soccer field at a walloping speed of 231.2 mph. It's a long ways off of the Bugatti's 268 mph track run, but it's pretty damn impressive for a premium sedan.

On its way to attaining the lofty top speed, G-Power fitted the M5's 5.0-liter V10 engine with a twin-supercharger system that brings the car up to 800 horses worth of output (up from 500 hp). The superchargers are larger than the models used on the tuner's already potent Hurricane RS, helping to deliver that extra burst of power and speed. G-Power also tuned the engine with new pistons, piston pins and connecting rods, and reworked electronic mapping. The upgraded V10 delivers its peak output of 800 hp between 7,500 and 8,000 rpm and its peak torque of 590 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm.


2011 Scion iQ, 3 Plus One

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 Scion iQ test 2

The 2011 Scion iQ is a new subcompact car from Toyota's youth-oriented brand. The iQ is a front-wheel-drive hatchback that seats 4 passengers. Toyota calls it the world’s smallest 4-seater.

The iQ has a 90-horsepower 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that operates much like an automatic. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, front-side airbags, driver- and front-passenger-knee airbags, and a rear-window-curtain airbag. Standard features include a 50/50 split-folding rear seat back, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and digital-music-player plug-ins. Several audio systems are among the available features.

The 2011 Scion iQ will go on sale in early 2011. With its compact size, youthful appeal, and quirky looks, the 2011 Scion iQ is considered a vehicle with qualities opposite of gas guzzling SUVs. The New York Times described the iQ as "Cute as a square button, the iQ is a city-slicker micro car that, at 120 inches long, is barely a foot longer than the Smart Fortwo, the smallest car sold here."

The 2011 Scion iQ uses an innovative "3 + 1" seating arrangement that holds three adults and one child or pet.  The configuration makes it the smallest four-seat car in the world, according to Scion. The iQ has a long list of standard features including many standard safety features. Inside, the iQ has a well-laid out cabin. Like most Scions, the iQ is anticipated to be very customizable.


Drayson Racing Wins At Road America!

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 4:10PM | By: John Welch


Drayson Racing Wins At Road America! test 1-1

Some American Le Mans Series races have larger starting grids than others, an unfortunate fact of life for Scott Atherton and the rest of the people tasked with promoting the Series. On weekends that aren't Sebring or Road Atlanta, however, the prototypes that do show up do their best to entertain and astound. This weekend, set in the rolling hills of  Wisconsin, was no different.

The prototypes filling out the LMP category of the race were all seasoned teams, ready to race. Except for one, Intersport Racing. The Fields came to Road America without an engine seated in the rump of their aging Lola chassis, a motor being a fairly important component of motor racing. The Autocon Team, also campaigning a privateer Lola, lent the Intersport a fresh AER engine, though the car wasn't ready for any of the practice sessions or qualifying. An already dismal six-car LMP class was essentially reduced to five cars.

As the race got underway, it became clear that these five cars were determined to put on a good show, as Autocon driver Johnny Miwlem used his turbo-supplied thrust to take the lead from Lord Drayson before the second corner. Drayson dropped another three positions before the end of the lap, obviously going easy on his Lola coupe to ensure that it was still in one piece for his hired shoe, Johnny Cocker. For the moment, the LMP battle involved four cars: The Autocon Lola, Highcroft ARX-01c, the Cyto-Sport Porsche RS Spyder, driven by factory pilot Timo Bernard, and the Dyson AER-Mazda-powered Lola coupe.


Rising Yen Motivates Honda to Focus on U.S. Production Plants

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 2:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Rising Yen Motivates Honda to Focus on U.S. Production Plants test 1-1

28 years ago, Honda Motor Co. was the first Japanese automaker to build cars in the U.S. Today as many as 89% of Honda and Acura brand vehicles sold in the U.S. were actually built in one of Honda’s U.S., Canadian, or Mexican manufacturing plants, up from 82.2 percent from a year earlier, the company said. Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. each made 68 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. at North American plants, according to the carmakers.

“Honda's high rate of local production in the U.S. is a clear advantage,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, who helps manage the equivalent of $365 million at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “They'll benefit even more in the U.S. as the market recovers.”

Japanese exporters are working hard to find new innovative ways to cut costs, increase fuel efficiency, and move production to cheaper geographic areas in order to compensate for the 4.4% rise of the yen in 2010. The yen is at its highest level in world trading since 1995.